November 18 2016
Experts say temple is built like ‘Russia nesting doll’ and reveals secrets about Mayan life.
Archaeological experts have unearthed a secret third structure within the most famous Mayan pyramid temple in Mexico, almost a century after the rest of the temple was first explored.
The El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is believed to have been constructed in three stages, with each of its three structures having been built centuries apart.
Researchers say the recently discovered smallest pyramid, which is 10m tall, was built at some point between 550 and 800 AD, as the Mayan civilisation reached its peak.
From Nemesis Maturity
El Castillo, Chichen Itza
Second secret pyramid found inside ancient Mayan temple
The giant Chichen Itza temple dates back to the 9th century but historians believe the second 10-meter tall structure, hidden within, is part of an earlier Mayan tribute to the gods.
Archaeologists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (NAUM) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History discovered the inner substructure using a tomographic x-ray technique to penetrate below layers of the stone without incurring any damage.
A secret inner section has been found inside Chichen Itza before. A 20-meter high pyramid had been uncovered in the mid-1930s, and the new development suggests Kukulkan was a kind of ‘matryoshka doll’ building.
Research professor Denisse Argote, of the National University of Anthropology and History, said it is not yet known whether there are any more design secrets contained inside the towering pyramid.
However, she described the discovery as “significant” as it may provide greater insight into how the Mayan settlement evolved.
“Following the chronology established for the city of Chichen Itza, this substructure could have been constructed between 600-800AD,” Argote told RT.
She said the pyramid is located near an underground sinkhole on the eastern side of the temple.
“This could tell us that the culture that built it knew about the existence of the cenote beneath it. This cavity was discovered by our team last year,” she added.
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